We've all heard of "the holiday blues" haven't we? There are a lot of different reasons for having the holiday blues and they're all self imposed to a degree. Yes, I'm saying we give ourselves the holiday blues. Now, there is a difference between "the blues" and true depression and no one is really certain of the causes of depression. On the other hand, there are several known factors for the Christmas blues.

I hate to jump on the band wagon of bashing the media, but in this case, it's justified. You see, the media, mostly through commercials for the holidays, paints a picture of the holidays that not even Martha Stewart could live up to. There are fresh baked things all over the beautifully decorated house, the entire atmosphere of the people and homes they show is telling us that that is the way to be happy during the holidays, so we try it and fail miserably.

The problem is that we are trying to celebrate Christmas the way it's celebrated in commercials. "Yes! That's how Christmas is supposed to be" we exclaim as we rush out to spend money on all the trappings of happiness. We think that putting up the tree and outside lights will give us the Christmas Spirit or that giving or getting all those presents will do the trick.

If you find yourself getting the blues during Christmas, stop right where you are and ask yourself how will any of this make me happy? It's a trick question because none of the decorations or presents will truly make us happy. That should tell us that happiness only comes from within. Oh, sure we can get a great gift and it may make you happy for a period, but that happiness is ephemeral at best. All happiness brought about by outside influences is short lived.

Another big cause of Christmas blues is money. One thing we definitely get from the media is the idea that the more money you spend, the happier your Christmas will be. Seriously? It shouldn't cost a dime to celebrate Christmas.

You may well wonder where all this is going. Well, it's simply this: Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not about trees and lights and baked cookies and presents. It's a time when we should celebrate the greatest gift ever given to mankind. Unlike the gifts Aunt Mabel gives you, this gift never gets used up or worn out. It never ceases to make us happy.

Now, I can hear you saying, "you're getting preachy there, Gary.' Maybe I am. But, I don't mean to preach. I just want to share with you something I've learned by experience. In other words, I've tried it and it works.

If you are prone to the holiday blues, avoid all the commercial trappings of Christmas that are supposed to make us happy. Instead focus on the real gift of hope, love and forgiveness. Celebrate not that we are given what we want, but we are given what we need. I'll take that any day.

The experts have some great suggestions about how you can combat holiday disappointment.

1. Don't put so much pressure on the holidays. In other words, be realistic. It will never be like on TV.

2. Stop doing the same thing every year. We've all heard that doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is a sign of insanity. Of course, it's just a sign of being stuck in a rut. Maybe traditional Christmas isn't your thing. Find your own way of celebrating.

3. How many times have you heard someone say, "I dread the holidays?" That is literally saying, "Here come the holidays and they're going to suck again this year." Don't get me started on the whole positive thinking thing right now, but predicting failure is certainly no way to succeed.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff - It's easy to get bogged down trying to be perfect. Right now, you don't need a reminder that you're not perfect.So what if your dishes don't all match. So what if you can't afford to throw a big party or buy your friends and loved ones nice gifts.It's funny how sometimes little trivial things can feel so important. Again, the media has convinced you that those things are important during the holidays. They're not.

5. Help other people - In a word, "volunteer." I can't stress the importance of this handy tip enough. Find a way to help other people during the holidays. There are so many organizations around looking for volunteers during the Christmas season. So many great projects you can get involved with. You won't believe just how much helping other people will help you.

Follow this link to WebMD and learn some other great tips on dealing with the holiday blues.

Merry Christmas!